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Pontins holidays have been a long-standing fixture in the realm of UK holidays, providing families and travellers with an accessible and entertaining getaway option. However, recent criticism has cast a shadow over their reputation.
A 2022 ranking of British holiday parks, compiled by Which?, has placed Pontins last out of 19 competitors, while Norfolk-based Potters Resorts claimed the top spot. In this article, we will explore the question: Are Pontins holidays worth it?
We will examine the pros and cons of Pontins holidays, including the recent ranking, locations, facilities, activities available, and your legal rights as a consumer.
The Recent Criticism of Pontins holidays
Which? conducted a survey of 1,355 members to assess their experiences at various holiday parks across the UK. Categories like cleanliness, quality of accommodation, customer service, facilities, entertainment, food and drink, and value for money were rated on a scale from one to five. The results revealed an unexpected outcome, with smaller, family-run resorts like Potters Resorts outperforming the bigger names.
Potters Resorts, with locations in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, and Maldon, Essex, emerged as the winner with a customer score of 88%. It scored perfectly in all seven categories, narrowly beating Waterside Holiday Group by a single point, despite having the highest price at £80 per night.
In contrast, Pontins scored a disappointing 59%, with its quality of accommodation receiving the only two stars in the category. Its entertainment and value for money also received two stars. This poor rating is not a new experience for Pontins, as it has been rated Britain’s worst hotel chain by Which? for nine consecutive years.
At £49 per night, Pontins is only marginally cheaper than Bluestone National Park Resort, which ranked fourth. Both Potters, Waterside, and Away Resorts received the Which? Recommended Providers stamp.
Locations of Pontins holiday parks
Pontins holiday parks are strategically situated in various parts of the UK, each offering its unique charm and nearby attractions. When considering whether a Pontins holiday is worth it, it’s essential to explore the locations and what they have to offer.
Southport Holiday Park:
Located in Ainsdale-on-Sea, Southport, this park is well-known for its proximity to award-winning beaches. Southport boasts a stunning coastline with golden sands, making it a haven for beach lovers. The town itself offers a mix of Victorian architecture, a bustling pier, and vibrant gardens. Nearby, you can explore the Southport Botanic Gardens or take a stroll along the historic Lord Street, known for its shopping and dining options.
Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park:
Situated in Denbighshire, North Wales, this park offers access to the beautiful Welsh coastline. North Wales is renowned for its rugged landscapes, including the Clwydian Range and Snowdonia National Park. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring the picturesque Welsh countryside. Prestatyn itself has a lovely beach and is close to attractions like Bodelwyddan Castle and the Great Orme Tramway.
Brean Sands Holiday Park:
Found in Burnham on Sea, Somerset, this park provides a beachside location in the South West. Somerset is famous for its dramatic coastline, including the Somerset Levels and the Bristol Channel. While staying at Brean Sands, you can visit the charming town of Burnham-on-Sea, explore the mystical Glastonbury Tor, or take a trip to the historical city of Bath.
Camber Sands Holiday Park:
Located in Sussex, this park is right on the shores of Camber Sands, known for its extensive sandy beaches and sand dunes. Sussex is a region filled with history, including the ancient town of Rye with its cobbled streets and medieval architecture. Nearby, you can explore the vibrant city of Brighton or visit the historic Battle Abbey, site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Pakefield Holiday Village:
Situated in Lowestoft, Suffolk, this park offers a coastal retreat in East Anglia. Suffolk is known for its picturesque countryside, charming villages, and serene beaches. While at Pakefield, you can explore the quaint town of Lowestoft, visit the historic Southwold Pier, or discover the scenic landscapes of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Sand Bay Holiday Village:
Located in Weston-super-Mare, this park is nestled on the coast of Somerset. Weston-super-Mare is known for its long sandy beach, the Grand Pier, and the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival. The town offers a traditional British seaside experience with amusements, cafes, and a pleasant promenade. Nearby, you can also explore Cheddar Gorge and the caves or take a day trip to the city of Bristol.
Each Pontins location offers a distinct experience, whether it’s enjoying the beaches, exploring nearby attractions, or immersing yourself in the local culture. When considering a Pontins holiday, it’s essential to factor in the appeal of the location and what you and your family wish to experience during your stay.
Activities at Pontins
Pontins offers a wide range of activities to keep guests entertained during their stay. Some of the activities available include:
Swimming Zone: Pontins’ Swimming Zone is a hub of aquatic family fun, suitable for all weather conditions. The zone features thrilling water slides that twist and turn, providing an exhilarating ride for kids and adults alike.
Amusement Arcade: Pontins’ Amusement Arcade is a treasure trove of entertainment, featuring a wide array of arcade-style games spanning different decades. From classic pinball machines to cutting-edge video games, there’s something to capture the imagination of every member of the family.
Captain Croc’s Adventureland: Designed with younger visitors in mind, Captain Croc’s Adventureland offers a child-friendly climbing area equipped with ball ponds. It’s a safe and engaging space where little ones can let their imaginations run wild, climbing, swinging, bouncing, and having a blast.
Character Breakfast: The Character Breakfast at Pontins is a delightful dining experience where you and your family can meet and interact with beloved members of the Croc Crew. This special event often includes favourite characters from the Pontins entertainment program.
Outdoor Inflatable Course: The Outdoor Inflatable Course at Pontins offers an exciting and dynamic adventure. Imagine bouncing and navigating your way through a challenging inflatable obstacle course.
Outdoor Skate Park: Pontins’ Outdoor Skate Park is a haven for skaters, skateboarders, and scooter enthusiasts. Stacked with mini ramps, this park provides the perfect setting for riders of all skill levels to practice tricks and hone their skateboarding or scootering skills.
Fun Bikes: For a different kind of family fun, Pontins offers one and two-seater pedal bikes, known as Fun Bikes. These bikes provide a unique way to explore the holiday park and its surroundings while enjoying the benefits of outdoor exercise
Crazy Golf: Crazy Golf at Pontins is a fantastic family activity that combines skill and friendly competition.
Game Zone: The Game Zone at Pontins is a gamer’s paradise, featuring PCs, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles equipped with the latest and greatest video games.
Trampolines: Pontins’ trampolines provide an opportunity for bouncy family fun. Jumping on trampolines is not only enjoyable but also a fantastic way to get some exercise and improve balance.
Go Karts: The Go Kart track at Pontins offers an adrenaline-pumping experience for those with a need for speed.
Snooker and Darts: If you prefer more leisurely indoor activities, Pontins provides options for snooker and darts. Gather with family and friends for a friendly game of snooker or darts, honing your skills and enjoying some quality time together.
Pony Cycles: Pony Cycles are a delightful way for kids to improve their balance and coordination while having a blast. These pedal-powered pony cycles allow children to mimic the experience of riding a pony, all within a safe and controlled environment.
Pros and Cons of Pontins Holidays
Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of Pontins holidays:
Affordable Pricing: Pontins offers competitive pricing, making it accessible to a wide range of budgets.
Entertainment: There is a wide variety of entertainment and activities available, ensuring that guests of all ages can find something enjoyable to do.
Locations: Pontins holiday parks are strategically located near beautiful beaches, providing scenic and relaxing environments for holiday makers.
Family-Friendly: The parks are designed to cater to families, with activities and amenities that appeal to both kids and adults.
Recent Ranking: The recent ranking by Which? placing Pontins last among competitors raises concerns about the quality of the experience.
Quality of Accommodation: Pontins received low ratings for the quality of accommodation, indicating that there may be issues with cleanliness and comfort.
Entertainment Quality: The entertainment quality also received low ratings, suggesting that there may be room for improvement in this area.
Value for Money: Despite its lower pricing, Pontins was rated poorly in terms of value for money, which may leave guests feeling unsatisfied.
What If Your Pontins Holiday Goes Wrong?
When you book a Pontins holiday, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights as a consumer. While the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 may not apply to most staycations like Pontins, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides protections for UK property owners and holiday providers. Under this act, they must offer accommodations with reasonable care and skill, ensuring that it is clean and safe for guests.
If you encounter any issues related to cleanliness, safety, or other aspects of your stay, you have legal recourse under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Here are the key steps to take:
Contact Pontins Staff: Report any problems with your accommodation to Pontins staff immediately.
Document the Issues: Document the problems you encounter, including taking photos, videos, or notes.
Request Remediation: Request that Pontins take appropriate measures to remedy the issues.
Escalate if Necessary: If Pontins does not adequately address your concerns, escalate the matter by speaking with higher management or utilizing formal complaint processes.
Seek Legal Advice: Seek legal advice if your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction.
Whether Pontins holidays are worth it depends on your priorities and expectations. If affordability and a wide range of activities are your main considerations, Pontins may be a suitable option. However, recent criticisms regarding accommodation quality and entertainment should be taken into account when making your decision. Ultimately, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consider your legal rights as you plan your Pontins holiday.